Much is written about grapevines being part of magnificent symphonies where all the key components arrive harmoniously at a single point in time – vintage.
Harmony is the key. Grape clusters need to arrive on time, be beautifully dressed in dark colours and perform exquisitely under the conductor’s baton with no hi jinx! Recalcitrants and non-conformists are shown the door.
This means the drummers have to sober, the seductive violinists need to keep well apart and not go smooching and the gorgeous sopranos shall not arrived under-dressed or sunburnt.
Veraison (colour change) is like the last lap around the stadium in a long distance race that started on the 15th January – 12 days later than last year.. The process in our Shiraz is likely to be complete in a week’s time, after which sugar levels will increase until the juice triggers a target level (brix) and the grapes taste ripe.
Veraison is a good time to check each grapevine to make sure they are meeting the orchestral standards to deliver exceptional wine. Bunches that are too green are decommissioned; entangled and knotted bunches are separated for better air circulation, weeds growing under the vines are pulled out (organic management) and the vines are skirted (trimmed) to achieve free under vine air movement. It is the same process John West performs with his tuna!
February is Mudgee’s highest rainfall month and the risk of fungal disease (botrytis) triggered by high humidity is at its peak. The next 3 weeks will be like walking across a bed of hot coals in the hope of still having an intact foot at the finish line.
The John West walk takes hours & days and most vineyards don’t do it because of the cost. Our wine consultant’s assessments of our last few vintages vindicates our attention to detail has paid dividends. We are hoping the initiative will work this year as well. All looks good so far!